Two weeks ago, SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk officially took control of Twitter, an app you probably used to get to this article. We’ve seen Musk start new companies since creating SpaceX, but this is the first significant company he has taken control of since Tesla in 2004. So what does this new addition to the Elon portfolio mean for SpaceX?
Split time between SpaceX, Tesla, and Twitter
On October 26, Musk walked into Twitter’s headquarters, carrying a sink, to close a deal to purchase the company. Since then, Musk has fired several top executives, including the CEO Parag Agrawal and CFO Ned Segal, and is now personally at the helm as Twitter’s sixth CEO since it was founded.
As Elon collects CEO titles like I did toll violations in Atlanta’s express lanes, SpaceX is attempting to get Starship off the ground. Already Elon has been split between running SpaceX, Tesla, and countless other smaller ventures. Twitter isn’t a small company, and Musk’s plans for Twitter aren’t small either, meaning time will be taken from his day to manage the venture. This means less time Musk gets to look over SpaceX’s Starship or Starlink programs, which need help as they expand to become major money makers for the space company.
His time is already split as Tesla’s chief executive. Most CEOs run only one company, but somehow Musk can run several and take on smaller projects within and outside of his companies. This is where people like Gwynne Shotwell or Mark Juncosa come in handy. These are Musk’s top lieutenants and oversee SpaceX’s essential projects. Shotwell, SpaceX employee number 7, is the President and COO of SpaceX. She is responsible for taking Musk’s crazy ideas and making them real, then calming down investors and customers when those crazy ideas run into trouble.
Juncosa runs Starlink, SpaceX’s high-speed satellite internet provider. He has reportedly also taken over control of Starship’s development. Juncosa seems to be the person Musk entrusts to run his most important programs. However, the CEO is still known to show up on-site, demanding answers for delays from whoever he sees fit.
Over the past month, Elon has spent most of his time on Twitter
Understandably that with the new purchase, Musk has focused his time on Twitter. He has been traveling to and from different Twitter offices in California and New York, with occasional stops in Austin, according to @ElonJet. The last time Musk’s private jet stopped at Starbase was October 13, lining up with full stack testing of Starship.
This will most likely become the norm in the future, with Musk’s new focus on building a “townhall of democracy” or whatever he’s calling it today – only showing up to SpaceX for significant events. The company is already a well-oiled machine with a dedicated workforce that understands its mission very well.
Twitter layoffs and significant change in work-life
This last week we saw Twitter lay off about half of its workforce, although reportedly, some are being asked to return. We have also heard reports that Musk and team members from his other companies have turned Twitter upside down with timelines and features. We’ve become used to Musk’s crazy timeline requests and know these will never be met.
Musk’s preferred way of managing is to move fast, break things, and attempt what you think isn’t possible. We’ve seen it at SpaceX and Tesla in the past, both coming out the other side with remarkable advances in their fields. This is something Twitter will have to adapt to and learn to live with. Many more Twitter employees will leave because of this management style. The tech industry has long been a place of comfort for developers, and that’s not how Musk rolls.